The time has come for us to sanitize our industry.
When we criticize others concerning our woes, we
must first take stock and examine the little foxes
that spoil our vine. This is one of my many write
ups on sanitizing the Music Ministry in Nigeria.
One of the major problem with Gospel artist or
music ministers in Nigeria is the reckless abuse of
copyright both among church leaders and among
the practitioners of the trade themselves .
I find it irreconcilable, when I realize that an artist
ministering on stage with so much anointing (so called) is actually flying on d wings of a stolen
song. There is no amount of spirituality and pious
packaging that can diminish the gravity of an
Offense so unabashedly committed and without
any modicum of contrition or compunction.
The abuse of intellectual property or what I chose to call ” the stealing of song” is so rampant in the
Nigerian Gospel Music Space.
Very regularly when I stroll across music shops
and hear publicity seeking music outlets playing
some of our local artist, I cring in self
condemnation at my inability to do a thing to stop this menace. How can one explain a situation
where an artist wakes up with an intention to
release a song and suddenly goes to his or her
music archive, picks a song from Kirk Franklin, Don
Moen, Isreal Houghton, Buchi, Panam Percy Paul,
Asu Ekiye etc, arranges them in a chain format, jumps into a studio and records such songs
without permission and release such songs to
make money? Remixing people’s sweat to survive
out of an inexplicable indolence does not make
you a true worshiper, even if you speak ten
thousand tongues without being filled with the Holy Ghost it does not validate this obvious display
of dishonesty and because we call God together,
we think contravention of laws does not carry the
same weight of penalty in certain parts of the
world . To me, that is rubbish and it is highly
condemnable and indictable.
Each time, I am inspired to write a song or release a
melody, I often ask myself , what inpute do I want
to make to the wealth of inspiration on the space.
What addition do I have to make to the repatoir
existing of songs in d air. I do not think that my
stock in trade should be a recycling syndrome although am not against those who are inspired to
give a different rendition to an already existing
tune. But what I make bold to promote is decency,
order, originality etc in our music making .
Recently I had course to host two black American
Music ministers for our annual event and
coincidentally I was inviting a fellow music minister
and comedian to the same event and suddenly it
dawned on me that the Nigerian artist and
comedian had done remixes of two popular Gospel tracks popularized by these Americans. So I
said, Waite a minuite, I need to make some
confirmations before i get embarrassed in my own
event. I called the Nigerian artist and asked him
and The conversation went like this:
Me: Hello Artist, (name withheld) I heard the
song”God is Able” and “Days of Elijah ” in your
Album, did you record these songs with
Artist: which permission Bros ?
Me: Did you obtain the copyright license to do
those songs in a commercial package?
His reply was very embarrassing
Artist: which permission again na Bros ? no be the
songs wey we Dey sing for church?
Then I told him why I was asking. Two of the artist
who had a recent release of those song are on the
bill. Judy Jacobs and Darwin Hobbs: then I said,
If you have not done your proper research and confirm the sources from which you released
those songs, bro, you may be in some bad shape.
And all of a sudden, the artist became subsumed
and tone of voice submerged.
Then he asked, “Bros , how we go do that one na?
” The rest is now history! But let me shock you, do
you know that the said Nigerian artist ran away
from honoring that invitation?
Now the problem is not just about copying foreign
artist without permission . What we fellow Nigerian
artist suffer among ourselves is even more
devastating. Severally I have heard my songs
remixed either consciously and unwittingly by
other artist and never remembered receiving a call from anybody about the use of any song. And I
am not the only one at the receiving end of this
recklessness and lawlessness. These artist who do
not write songs, who do not Waite to be inspired,
whom I can call mercenaries, who are opportunist
shenanigans wake up and want to reap from where they did not sow.
Before we begin to deal with the criminal elements in our ranks, first and foremost , I have begun a
process of sensitizing all music ministers in Nigeria
with intellectual properties to understand what it
means to approach the copy right Commision of
Nigeria and register intellectual properties. That’s is
the beginning of giving the law the power to bite . I have had many complains of artist whose songs
have been “perverted” and used selfishly and
indiscriminately and they are helpless because
they never registered this materials, they simply
got inspired and went to church with the songs
and they became church choruses. Under that circumstance , there is actually nothing any body
can do to remedy your case.
A very painful scenario was when my friend
Godswill told me about his song “eh eh eh eh My
God e good o” that was used and became a hit by
another Nigeria artist in South Africa. That was a
painful one. The facts were so obvious and the
inaction of a party can have very devastating consequences .
So my advice is, Please copy right your intellectual
properties! Then the law can take its course on all
I have authorized the legal department of
FOGMMON to seriously study the laws on copyright
so we can carry out a clean up operation on the
Nigerian Gospel music market especially church
Any body found gallivanting with stolen music of a member of FOGMMON should be arrested as he or
she is coming down from the altar . I know
somebody will condemn this , but it is just the
beginning of our clean up operation. We must
begin to have a way of separating the fake from
the real in our ministry. Keep it locked here for more propositions: